Well I woke up today, and you're on the other side
Once upon a time there was a girl named Rose who met a man who could change his face. He took her away from home in his magical machine and showed her the whole of time and space. They thought it would never end.
And then one day the man, who was the lord of time, faced his foes and saved the world. He did not do it alone. He was not the one to save himself.
Bad Wolf came.
There was a song, and Bad Wolf saw all that is, all that was, all that ever could be. The foes were defeated and the man was safe. When the singing stopped, Bad Wolf turned into Rose, and Rose turned into a girl who said forever but couldn't keep her promise.
Once there was a woman named Rose who loved a man with no name but the one he gave himself. They thought they had forever but their time came to an end, as all things must do.
She was left alone. The man and his magical machine were gone.
But the song remained.
Sometimes Rose thought deja vu surely meant something else. Events would happen that the world found shocking, and she only shrugged as if it was old news.
Other times something small would occur, and it would be wrong. She could not explain it, but she knew that what happened ought not to have happened.
Sometimes at night her dreams were so vivid that she would wake up, expecting them to continue. The thread of the dream always vanished, leaving her to worry about things undone, events gone wrong.
She never tried to explain these things, because it always left her feeling foolish. So she went about the business of living, pretending that a dream was only a dream, and her real life was right in front of her.
That was harder than it should be, some days.
Rose wakes with a start. Sitting up in bed, she looks around the darkroom, searching. Searching for something that's not here. She sighs. Several times now in the past few months she's woken up listening to something, listening for something, but the sound never remains. She doesn't know whether to blame an overactive imagination or the volume on a nearby radio.
Lying back in her bed, she tries to remember what woke her up. If she was dreaming, she can't remember it. If her mother was watching television, it's no longer too loud.
Sometimes Rose thinks it's a shame she doesn't believe in ghosts or haunted houses. At least that would explain it.
Looking at the clock, she notes that it's almost time to get up. Ignoring the odd sensation that telling time always seems to give her, she turns off her alarm before it can start to ring and throws back the covers. Blinking in the darkness, she mentally calculates her time here.
182 days and counting. 182 days since she came to this world. She doesn't know why she continues to keep track, she simply does it. Getting up, she walks to her bathroom in the dark. Turning the light on and washing her face in the sink, her gaze wanders over the countertop. Bottles of lotion, perfume, makeup are scattered around the sink. Her toothbrush sits inside a bright yellow cup.
Once in a while she'll reach for an item that's not there, a bracelet or a small trinket. Her things didn't come with her, not here. They left everything behind. That doesn't stop the impression that her things are someplace else, that there is a place she left behind that she really ought to get back to. That something is waiting for her, if she can just get back to it.
There is no place, of course, just their old council flat that's probably in ruins by now, but there you are. Just another oddity about this place.
As she washes her hair in the shower she goes over her schedule for the day. Breakfast. Work. Home.
Yup, she thinks to herself. Right on schedule there.
She dresses in black trousers and a plain white t-shirt. She dries her hair into its usual shape and thinks about getting a haircut. Does her makeup and slips on new boots - black leather, 2-inch heel, far too expensive - and a black leather jacket. She's out the door before she remembers her watch. She grabs her silver hoop earrings on the way back.
She can already hear signs of life downstairs. Her heels click on the stairs. By the time she reaches the dining room the disorientation she felt that morning is gone and forgotten.
"Good morning, sweetheart," Jackie greets her.
"Mornin', Mum," Rose says, sitting down at her usual place. They're in the casual dining room. They never eat in the kitchen, and the formal dining room is reserved for parties. A far cry from how she grew up, but Rose is very good at adapting to new situations. Jackie, of course, has taken to it enthusiastically.
"How do you feel?" Rose asks.
Jackie makes a face. "Had a hard time sleeping. I tossed and turned all night. Drove your poor father mad, I'm afraid."
"You should take it easy today."
"Oh, Rose, I'm fine." Jackie pours Rose some juice.
"I know. Still." Rose takes the glass and tries the juice. Orange.
A maid appears at the table, setting down a platter of eggs and sliced ham. It's followed by a bowl of fruit and cereal in crystal serving dishes. Rose can't help but be privately amused at this. They didn't start this ritual - Pete's first wife did - but Jackie has been reluctant to change too many things too soon. Rose doesn't think Pete would even notice, but he might notice if they started eating Jackie's cooking in the kitchen each morning.
Especially her coffee.
"Thank you, Marie," Jackie says, taking the serving fork and putting a healthy amount of eggs on Rose's plate.
"You need this more than I do," Rose says in amusement as Marie vanishes back into the kitchen.
"You need to eat," Jackie responds. "Last thing I need is more weight." She adds some fresh fruit to Rose's plate, knowing that her daughter will never eat all that.
"Good morning." Pete says.
"Morning." Rose is still unsure of her place here, still unsure whether to call him Pete or Dad. She calls him both, depending on her mood and his, and whether they're in public or not. He seems to have accepted a full-grown daughter as best as any man could, and has been very kind to her.
"You were up all night, Jackie. You need to eat and go back to bed."
"I'm fine," Jackie assures him.
"At least promise me you'll put your feet up later."
"I promise," Jackie promises.
Rose watches her mother covertly as she pours some milk into a bowl of cereal. Jackie is nearly 41, and she's four months pregnant. The shock of finding her dead husband alive, albeit on a parallel world, and being rescued to said world to avoid being killed by aliens, was enough of a shock to her system. A pregnancy was unplanned but welcomed, but this time around carrying a baby is a bit harder. Jackie does a lot of resting during the day.
"I have a new name," Jackie says, and Pete and Rose both groan.
"What?" Jackie demands.
"No more names, Jackie. Please," Pete begs.
"Tristan," Jackie continues.
"Alastair," Pete repeats. "Come on, Jacks."
"If Rose was a boy we were going to call her Alastair." Jackie doesn't mean that she and Pete - this Pete- were going to name her Alastair. She means the Pete she lost. A small thing, not even awkward anymore. All three of them are adjusting to life on this new world, adjusting to living as a family. It's what Rose has wanted her entire life, and she's so grateful to have this chance again.
"Thanks heavens I was a girl," Rose says humorously.
Pete shakes his head. "Not Alastair, Jackie."
"How'm I supposed to name this baby if you two constantly tell me what rubbish my names are?" Jackie demands.
"Pick something that's not rubbish," Pete suggests. He is thrilled to be having a baby and it shows in every way, from the way he dotes on Jackie to the free reign he's given them in decorating the nursery.
"Oh, I'll try," Jackie grumbles.
"Speaking of the baby," Rose says before Pete can answer, "just so this poor baby can be legitimate and official and all, are you two going to get married sometime?"
Jackie and Pete stare at each other. To the world they're already married, have been for over twenty years. When Pete found them and brought them back to this world, just before the Cybermen destroyed the London they'd lived in, he'd been able to pass Jackie off as his late wife. He was from the parallel world and had lost his wife to Cybermen several years before, and it was fairly painless to announce that she hadn't been dead after all, merely in hiding with a head injury.
A full-grown daughter was something else, and the wealthiest man in Great Britain isn't allowed much privacy. Rose is getting used to the attention focused on her and tries to ignore it as much as possible.
"Are we married?" Jackie asks hesitantly.
Pete seems to consider this. "We didn't marry each other, technically."
"But we have the paperwork that says we did."
"We'll renew our vows," he tells her. "Before the baby comes. Right here at the house."
"That'll be lovely!" Rose says enthusiastically.
Jackie is blushing. "I'd like that."
Pete gets to his feet and kisses her. "Have a rest this morning. Then start planning the party."
Rose gives her mum a quick kiss on the cheek. "I'll help you tonight, if you like."
"I would. Have a good day!" Jackie calls after them.
"You, too. Bye!"
Pete drives them in to Torchwood. Three years after the Cybermen invasion nearly destroyed the building, it is rebuilt and fully functioning. Officially part of the government, Pete runs it with relatively little interference from higher-ranking officials. His success at foiling the first Cybermen invasion helps with that. He takes his mission very seriously, and so far they've had success in dealing with aliens and using alien technology to defend the Earth.
"I've got a meeting this morning," Pete says as he and Rose enter the building. "Will you need a ride home?"
"Don't be silly," she tells him. "I'll be fine."
"Your mum will blame me if you're late for dinner."
Rose laughs. "I've been much later than that before."
Pete looks at her questioningly, and Rose finds herself momentarily confused. "I mean, I've been home late lots of times before," she clarifies.
Pete nods. "See you later, then."
Rose walks down to her office. As a Torchwood field agent she shares a room with the rest of her team. The office is on the seventh floor, which suits her perfectly. Office on seven, cafeteria on five. Pete's office is higher up, and she's been there exactly once. Rose doesn't have a fear of heights, and she's no stranger to an elevator, but she has a strong aversion to the thought of visiting the higher floors at Torchwood Tower.
Mickey and Jake are already there. She smiles at Mickey. Whatever relationship they'd had ended long ago, but they're still good friends. Jake Simmonds is the first friend Mickey made when he crossed to this world, and they've proven to be a good team and good trainers for Rose.
"What's new?" Rose asks, settling in on a chair next to Jake.
Mickey rolls his eyes. "Nothin' new so far. Quiet couple of weeks, ain't it?"
"Quiet is a good thing," Jake disagrees. "No sense in asking aliens to come on by when they're going to get here eventually."
"At least it'd give us a reason to go to work."
Rose shakes her head. "I hate sitting around doing nothing. Seems to me that I'd be better off working in a shop again."
"You're better than that," Mickey tells her. "We always knew that."
"Too good for a shop, but all right to hunt down alien life forms?" she asks in amusement.
"You've done all right so far," Jake tells her.
Rose has been training at Torchwood almost since Pete brought her and Jackie back to this world. Faced with an adult daughter, Pete brought her on at Torchwood, hoping to avoid most of the tabloid speculations. He'd initially thought she could work at Vitex and take up the slack that his absence was causing, but her lack of schooling proved hard to overcome in the business world.
Rose prefers to work at Torchwood, although when she realized just what she was expected to do, she had second thoughts. Watching the havoc the Cybermen wreaked on her home world was enough to make her want to stay far away at first. The thought of fighting aliens on a regular basis was a bit frightening.
Jackie had more than a few second thoughts herself, and wasn't shy about voicing them. Pete convinced her it was safe enough, and Rose's natural curiosity won out. It was a good move for her.
"It's 'cause I've had good mentors," Rose tells Jake now.
He laughs back at her. "Thanks."
Rose grins. "I mean it." She's gone on several field operations and handled herself well against several aliens. She's amazed Pete and the other higher-ups with how well she's done, and truthfully, it surprised her, too. Growing up on the estate was hardly preparation for fighting aliens, but she's gotten very good at defending herself peacefully and figuring out what it is that aliens want with them.
And when all that doesn't work, it turns out that she's much better at running than she thought.
"What are we going to do, then, if there's no activity to follow up on?" Rose asks. "More paperwork?"
"Filing," Jake suggests.
"I'd rather go clean the floors," Mickey disagrees. "I've still got paper cuts from yesterday's filing."
They're saved from both filing and floor sweeping by the beeping on Jake's pager. He checks the display and grins at them.
"Aliens spotted. Let's go."